Saturday, December 3, 2011

Filling the College Student's Pantry

ByChristine M Harrell

Everyone has to eat. It is a challenge that has been plaguing college students for centuries. Many of them are fortunate enough to be on the university school meal plan, but those living off campus with nothing but an empty refrigerator staring back at them may find meals challenging. There are several ways to fill the college student's pantry and refrigerator with semi-nutritious food without going completely broke. Of course, the much-awaited trip from the parents is often a good opportunity to stock up on food, too.

Staples
With the basics of water, flour, sugar, milk, butter, cheese, crackers and eggs, the average college student can make nearly anything for a meal or a snack. Keeping these items on hand is helpful in creating a variety of foods for meals.

Produce
Fruits and vegetables are relatively inexpensive and can be added to other dishes to make them go farther. When bought in bulk, they are even cheaper. Produce also makes a good, healthy snack between classes.

Canned Goods
Canned foods are convenient to buy, cost little and are often on sale. The larger the can, the better the bulk price.

Dried Foods
Dried foods like beans and lentils are a great bargain, and they last a long time in between shopping trips. They take longer to make, but can be cooked on a stovetop, hot plate or in a crock pot. Cereals are also easy cabinet stuffers. They are versatile in color, taste and preparation. Some cereals are also tasty additions when baking cookies.

Pasta
Pasta is one of the least expensive items that can be eaten with a number of different foods for nearly every meal. Fix pasta as a main dish or as a side dish with hot leftovers. For a cold treat that will last for a few days, cook up and cool pasta, then mix in chopped up meats and vegetables for a pasta salad. Add some dressing or oil and vinegar before chilling.

Coupons
Using grocery store coupons makes most items less expensive. Only buy as much as is needed to satisfy the coupon. With only one person to feed, consider sticking to single-item coupons, unless it is an item that is eaten very frequently. Some stores double coupons on certain days of the week. There are a fair number of discount coupons available in the newspaper, on-line or at the store itself.

Roommates
While some roommates prefer to label their own food in an every-man-for-himself atmosphere, it may be worth the adventure to share certain staples, such as butter, salt, sugar and perhaps coffee or tea.

Author is a freelance copywriter who is passionate about saving money while shopping online. Save money with hundreds of online discount coupons, including grocery store coupons.

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